The African Development Bank (AfDB) launched the Feed Africa Strategy which aims to transform African agriculture into a competitive and inclusive agribusiness sector that creates wealth and improves livelihoods in an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable manner. In order to achieve rapid agricultural transformation at scale, the Feed Africa Strategy has identified the need to unlock the potentials of Africa’s Guinea Savannah, a land mass of 400 million hectares which stretches across 25 countries, from Senegal in west Africa to Angola and Mozambique in southern Africa, and supports the livelihoods of 239 million people. The Bank has therefore initiated the Transformation of the African Savannah Initiative (TASI) to orchestrate and facilitate the dialogue between public institutions, private investors, research and technology providers, technical assistance partners (or providers of tropical agricultural technology), and other relevant actors in eight regional member countries with large expanses of Savannahs.
The initiative is being piloted in Ghana, with plans to roll out in seven other countries – namely, Guinea, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Central African Republic. The TASI Pilot in Ghana aims to test and demonstrate at scale, viable commercial conservation agriculture systems in the Savannah for the production of maize-soybean-livestock value chains. To kick start activities in Ghana, the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Program (SAPIP), a collaborative initiative between the Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and AfDB carried out four initial demonstrations in the Northern Region of Ghana during the 2018 planting season to master the system before moving it to scale. To ensure feasibility of the initiative, the Bank commissioned a study to assess the competitiveness of the target commodity which was validated at stakeholders meeting held in Accra on 16th August, 2018. One major outcome of the meeting was that a company be established to manage the TASI in Ghana. Following the meeting, a field visit was organized to the demonstration sites in kukobila-Nasia farms in the Savelugu municipality with the participation of the AfDB Director of Agriculture, staff of SAPIP, the Partner Farmers and their Workers.
Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist for the TASI project, Peter Osie Tutu explains the objectives of the project:
“the project will showcase best practices in improving agricultural productivity for adoption at scale, The TASI concept widely shared to attract more commercial farmers, and will also enhance Farmers’ knowledge of productivity improvement technologies as well as Private sector engagement in the initiative increased for collaboration.”
Participants included, The Northern Regional Director, MoFA ,District Directors, MoFA ,Representatives of Farmers’ Organizations and Groups; the Communities; Commercial Farmers; Agri-Input Companies; the Food and Feed Industry , poultry Farmers; Dealers in Farm Equipment and Machinery; the SAPIP Team, staff from the AfDB; and the Press.